Taste and See: Still giving thanks

Our Lady and St Joseph, Hanwell

The Responsorial Psalm on Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter, was an invitation to the people of God to again join in common song, praising God for his merciful love.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
or
Alleluia!

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing for joy.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him,
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love.
He is faithful from age to age.

Psalm 99:1-3,5

In the song we surrender something of our individuality in order to share what we have in common – and yet it is in our particular lives and circumstances that we find the justification, indeed the very drive to join in the song of all the faithful.

We sing not only because ‘they’ sing, but because we, each one, has need to sing.

  • For what do you sing?
  • How has he made you you, and his?

Church of Our Lady and St Joseph, Hanwell, where I was ordained priest, 25 years ago today. And for that, and the 25 years since, I give thanks and sing. (c) 2010, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Still Eastering?

Dormition Easter 2013

Sunday was the 4th Sunday of Easter – and we are only about half way through the Easter season’s 50 days.

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that we may always find delight in these paschal mysteries,
so that the renewal constantly at work within us
may be the cause of our unending joy.
Through Christ our Lord.

Are we Easter-ing still?

  • Why?
  • How do we know?
  • How would someone else know?
  • What difference does Easter faith make to us and others?

Abbey of the Dormition, Jerusalem. Easter 2013. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Taste and See: The New Day

 

Meadows, Oxford

The Gospel  for the 2nd Sunday of the Year, in Year B, comes from the Gospel of John, (rather than ‘the Gospel of the Year’ – namely, Mark’s Gospel).

John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher –’where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

John 1:35-42

The narrative is tightly and sparely told. Beyond the essentials of the story there is use of titles to describe Jesus which function as short-hand (or teasers?) for his meaning. There is care to name some of the persons featured in the narratives, and to explain the meaning of Rabbi.

There is one detail which seems redundant, but some have suggested is a key to the symbolic meaning of the passage – and John is keen on on his symbols.

‘It was about the tenth hour’. ‘About 4pm’ says the note in one edition of the Bible.

Other commentators see this as suggesting that the visit to where Jesus lived began at sundown, and on a Friday. (‘In my beginning is my end…’) They arrive as shabbat begins, and the rest of the day that they spend with Jesus is the full length of the shabbat.

They arrive, in other words, on the last day of the week, the 7th day, the day of rest. They arise to leave on what Jews call the first day of the week, and Christians have variously called the Lord’s Day, the eighth day (interesting concept when the week ordinarily has eight days!), or more prosaically, Sunday. In their encounter with him, which allows Andrew to know the Jesus, the Lamb of God as the anointed one of God, the Saviour, they enter into the new creation won by the Paschal Death and Rising, and shared more usually through the sacrament of Baptism.

  • Where is newness and creativity experienced in your life today?
  • Who might you point towards Jesus today?

Photograph of Christchurch, Oxford, in the early morning (according to the Latin way of counting time!). (C) 2014, Allen Morris.

Taste and see: less is more

image

‘Less is more’ is a saying adopted by and associated with the German-American minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

It is maybe odd to invoke the phrase in consideration of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Many monotheists and Unitarians think that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, ‘the three in one’, diminishes God, betrays the One in proposing the Three. For them more is less.

They, mostly, cannot take seriously the (necessary and orthodox) Christian insistence that in speaking of Trinity, the insistence on the One God is as unnegotiable, and irreducible ‘fact’ about God as is is the Three-ness.

Though the analogy should not be pushed too far (!), in the exquisite work of Mies van dear Rohe, the detail is seen all the more potently because of the simplicity and clarity of design, so too in the uniqueness of the One God does the beauty of threeness, diverse in unity, united in diversity, manifest itself. The doctrine is response to God’s self-revelation, not wretched human invention. The doctrine inevitably resists logic and defies our understanding for it seeks to respond to that which God is, and the who, what, and why of God always will cause human thought to stumble and falter, and finally for human tongues to fall silent.

Which is why the simplicity of the Entrance Antiphon so commends itself for our attention as we seek to live from yesterday’s celebration of Mass.

So simply, so respectfully and carefully, does it name the threeness of the one God, and thank him for his greatest gift to us, his merciful love.

Blest be God the Father,
and the Only Begotten Son of God,
and also the Holy Spirit,
for he has shown us his merciful love.

Image found here.